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UPMC Altoona Bariatric Surgery Program: FAQs
1. What is clinically severe obesity?
    Clinically severe or morbid obesity is when a person's Body Mass Index (BMI) is greater than 40 or greater than 35 with the presence of co-morbidities such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, etc.
2. How is your BMI calculated?
    BMI is your weight in pounds multiplied by 703. Take that number and divide it by your height in inches squared:

    BMI = (weight in pounds x 703)/height in inches squared
    Click here to calculate your BMI.
3. How much weight can one expect to lose after surgery?
    When surgery is combined with a multidisciplinary approach and a high level of patient motivation, patients may expect to lose between 60 and 85 percent of their excess body weight over a period years. Everyone's results will differ and the time frame is questionable.
4. How is excess body weight calculated?
    This is your actual body weight minus your ideal body weight.
5. Who qualifies as a good candidate for surgical treatment of someone with clinically severe obesity?
    A good candidate meets the above-discussed BMI levels, understands the procedure and is willing to make a commitment to life-long follow-up and support.
6. Which patients typically do best with weight-loss surgery?
    Those who meet the BMI criteria, and thoroughly understand the procedure and the need for life-long follow-up and support
7. How much weight will be regained after surgery?
    Long-term results after the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass show that patients usually regain less than 15 percent of their weight after five to 10 years.
8. How many days will I be in the hospital?
    If you have the laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery or Gastric Sleeve, you can expect to spend two to three days in the hospital and up to four weeks recovering. The minimally invasive approach has a shorter recovery time with fewer restrictions.
9. What steps will I need to take to be eligible for bariatric surgery?
    The steps of this process are:
  • 60-minute informational session, as per surgeon's request
  • Nutritional assessment
  • Psychological assessment
  • Clinical evaluation by surgeon
  • Coordination of care with your primary care physician
  • Precertification of insurance
  • Preoperative testing - labs, chest X-ray, EKG, etc. (when applicable)
  • Postoperative follow-up
  • Support group
  • Consultation for reconstructive surgery
10. What can I expect after the surgery?
    After surgery it is important to follow up with your surgeon to monitor your weight loss and watch for any complications that may occur. You will also need to follow up with the dietitian for dietary counseling and with your primary care physician for management of any medical issues.
11. How do I pursue surgery at the UPMC Altoona Bariatric Surgery Program?
    The first step is to contact our Bariatric Coordinator.
12. If I am notified that I am a candidate at this time, how long do I have to wait to schedule surgery?
    The length of time varies with each person, however the average wait time is three to four months. We will work with you throughout this period to ensure that you experience no delays in this process.
13. Will my health insurance cover this surgery?
    You will need to check with your insurance provider to determine if your plan covers bariatric surgery. The number should be on the back of your card. You will also need to determine what the criteria are for this surgery.
14. How many procedures have your surgeons performed?
    UPMC Altoona and our surgeons meet the criteria of the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP) with a high volume of bariatric cases.
15. Are the physicians board certified?
    Yes, both surgeons at the UPMC Altoona Bariatric Surgery Program are board certified.
15. Is the hospital an accredited center?
    Yes, UPMC Altoona is accredited as a Comprehensive Center for Bariatric Surgery.

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